5th Special Operations Squadron [5th SOS]
The 5th SOS is one of two flying squadrons belonging to the Air Force Reserve's 919th Special Operations Wing at Duke Field.
The 5th SOS has a vivid history tracking back to World War II, when it was the 5th Combat Cargo Squadron with C-46 and C-47 aircraft. The unit saw extensive combat action in the Asia-Pacific theater, transporting men and supplies in and out of forward combat areas. It was disbanded after the war and was reactivated in 1965 during the Vietnam conflict as the 5th Air Commando Squadron at Nha Trang Air Base, South Vietnam.
From Nha Trang and later Tuy Hoa air bases, the 5th ACS conducted psychological operations by means of loudspeaker broadcasts and leaflet drops. The 5th ACS was renamed a Special Operations squadron in 1968 and operated C-47 and U-10 aircraft until 1969, when it was inactivated.
On January 7, 1995, the 5th SOS reactivated in the Air Force Reserve under the 919th SOW and was assigned the MC-130P Combat Shadow mission. The 5th SOS had five MC-130P Combat Shadow aircraft assigned to it.
In late 1999, the 5th SOS became an associate unit with the active force's 9th SOS belonging to the 16th Special Operations Wing at Hurlburt Field, FL, thereby tuning its aircraft over to other units, including two going to the 9th SOS. It relocated from Duke Field, FL, to Eglin AFB, FL, and although the 5th SOS is geographically separated from the 919th SOW, the unit remains under the for administrative purposes.
Under the associate unit concept, an active-duty unit owns the aircraft and Reserve crews and maintainers augment the missions. The move is part of an overall plan for Air Force Special Operations Command to combine Reserve and active-duty components onto common airframes. These changes result from mission changes, adjustments for efficiency, congressional directives and implementation of the expeditionary aerospace force concept.